Recent Articles in Volume 88, Issue 1 (2023)
The Future of the Law on the Moon
By Andrew Y. Lee – Outer space is rapidly becoming the domain for industrial-scale private-sector innovation and entrepreneurship. By developing and maturing the unprecedented technology for vertical landing and partial reuse orbital-class rockets, Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX) has reduced the cost of access to orbital space by a staggering factor of magnitude, i.e., to one-tenth the previous rate. SpaceX is now on the cusp of launching its next-generation launch system called Starship to orbit. Starship is designed to be fully and rapidly reusable (land, refuel, and fly like airplanes) and expected to decrease the cost of access to orbital space to a level comparable to air travel— whereby private-sector industry in outer space would become economically viable. [...]
Customary International Law as a Vessel for Global Accord: The Case of Customary Rules-of- the-Road for Governing the Orbital Highways of Earth
By Pablo Mendes de Leon & Jin Choi – Passenger protection will continue to ask for attention. The involved bodies and persons include policymakers and legislators, media, courts, compliance departments of airlines, law firms, consumer protection organizations, and airports. All parties must announce the conditions for such protection on their premises. In 2020, around 50% of all cases in the Netherlands, around 4,000 to 5,000 claims submitted to the lower courts, concerned passenger protection in aviation. In the Republic of Korea (Korea), these numbers are more limited but still significant; that is, around 2,500 claims form the aggregate number presented to Korean courts and Korea’s Consumer Protection Agency. [...]
VFR Into IMC Through the Lens of Behavioral Economics
On Launching Environmental Law into Orbit in the Age of Satellite Constellations
By Michael B. Runnels – In September 2022, the Federal Communications Commission adopted a new rule changing the deorbiting timeframe for satellites ending their missions in low Earth orbit from a twenty-five-year recommendation to a five-year legal requirement. The adoption of this rule, which seeks to cultivate a sustainable orbital environment for satellites, followed the United States’ July 2022 National Orbital Debris Implementation Plan, which tasked federal agencies with reviewing the effectiveness of their orbital debris-related rules. In the wake of the Supreme Court’s June 2022 West Virginia v. EPA decision, however, federal rulemaking in the area of orbital debris may not survive judicial scrutiny in the absence of explicit congressional authorization to do so. The purpose of this Article is to provide arguments for why Earth’s orbital environment should be protected under the National Environmental Policy Act and to provide draft legislation that is responsive to both the Orbital Debris Plan and the Supreme Court’s recent EPA ruling, which will enable FCC rulemaking in the area of orbital debris.